Recipe: Barley Lentil Salad

Curried Barley Lentil Salad

Usually, the simpler the food, the better. The Standard American Diet is built on foods that are as far removed from their natural state as possible. Food that is highly processed, taking natural products, refining them, coating them in fats/sugars/salts/additives/preservatives and then packaging them pretty. We all inherently know that this isn’t a healthy way to eat. How can these products compare with food as close to its natural state as possible, blueberries off the bush, carrots out of the dirt…

It can take a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve re-trained your taste buds to enjoy the taste of natural food, you will soon discover that fresh food is naturally healthy AND delicious. You will start to notice the slightly offensive sweetness of processed salad dressings, the saltiness in store-bought cookies…

This salad came up today in my experimenting. I wanted to see if I could use food, as natural as possible to make something delicious for dinner. I just sampled it, warm and it’s so yummy. So you can eat it warm or cold. We’ll be eating it as an entree, but would make a great side dish as well!

Barley Lentil Salad

1 cup dried green lentils

1 cup pot barley

2 cups raw chopped cauliflower

1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

2 tbs almond oil(or olive oil)

dash of sea salt

1 tsp curry spices(I used 1/2 tsp Turkish Baharat and 1/2 tsp Tandoori Masala)

Directions: Prepare the lentils and barley. I simmered mine separately until just tender. It actually took almost the exact same amount of time so I don’t see any reason not to simmer them together. Drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Serve!

tip – make sure to rinse the dust off the barley well. If you use pearl barley(which is more refined) it cooks quite quickly so don’t combine to simmer with lentils.

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Recipe: Barley with Red Pepper Feta Sauce

barley with red pepper feta sauce

Whoa, dinner inspirations around here this week! I guess it’s only Tuesday, but I’m on a roll! Sexy Husband LOVES barley. We all are pretty consistent barley fans around here, so tonight’s dinner was so ridiculously simple, it’s almost embarrassing to refer to it as a recipe. It’s more like a dinner IDEA.

Here’s how you do it:

Make the barley. Personally I use pot barley, which is less refined than pearl barley. It does take a little bit longer to cook, ok about double the time, 40 minutes or so. Use what you have. I’m sure it would fine with rice, bulgur, couscous, pasta etc. To make barely you just rinse it(well), and then boil it until just tender, drain extra water. Voila.

In a hot oven(400 or so), roast a few red peppers until nice and soft. In a food processor, puree peppers with about 1 cup crumbled feta. Spoon red pepper feta sauce onto barley.

So easy and delicious!

Recipe: Barley with Butternut Squash and Hazelnuts

barley with butternut squash, leeks and hazelnuts

It is not often that I impress myself with my cooking prowess. I’m glad that I get a great response most the time, but usually I think, ya, that was pretty good. But this dish is really really fabulous. SURE to make a good impression. I intended to make it a bit more like a barley risotto, but it kind of just grew into this dish. A great dish for hosting; serve with a green salad and you have an easy one or two dish meal! The rich and varied tastes were incredible together. Foodie Baby loved it. Sexy Husband (and the band) loved it. Picky Princess wouldn’t come near it(how dare I MIX together new things???!!!) and…I loved it. Hope you do too!

Directions

Serves 4-6

1.5 cups pearl barley, rinsed well

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed. (note, this is not easy. I was kind of annoyed by the end. Do it earlier in the day when patience is running high.)

2 leeks, pale green and white parts only, sliced into 1 inch rounds

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

1 tbs chopped fresh sage(plus more for garnish)

1 cup chopped or whole hazelnuts, toasted

1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 tbs truffle oil (you can use olive oil if you need to, but truffle oil is rich and amazing and really added a lot to this dish! I would like to try it with hazelnut oil as well!)

Directions:

Make the barley. In a large pot, bring barley and 4 cups of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until barley is still chewy but cooked, about 20 minutes. (You can use regular barley instead of pearl barley, it just takes a bit longer to cook). Drain any excess water and leave barley in the pot.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375. Toss squash, leeks, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and sage together and place in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, stir frequently, until squash is browning on each side.

Pour squash mixture, hazelnuts and goat cheese into the barley and stir to combine. Drizzle with truffle oil. Garnish with fresh sage.

vegetables about to roast